Since I’m not in hardcore training mode right now, weekly training recaps will be more low-key and perhaps not-so-weekly. I would’ve skipped this post altogether if it had not been for 2 runs this week that I’m excited to share with you.
On Thursday, I fell back on my standard “I want to run fast but not actually suffer/do a ‘real’ speed session” workout — fartleks! The plan was warm-up for 1 mile, run 10 x (1 min sprint/2 min jog), and cool-down for the remainder. Somewhere in the 3rd interval, it hit me that I was trying to run fast by increasing my stride length instead of keeping up with high cadence/turnover. On my next interval, I took shorter, quicker steps, and my pace immediately dropped by over 30 seconds/mile! Sure, it was only for one minute, but it was still really gratifying to change one little thing and get a big improvement. Compared with my last 4 sets of fartleks in 2013, in which I averaged 7:55-8:00/mile for 10 intervals, I managed to run 7:29/mile average on Thursday. This was also a big relief, because for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t run faster than my fastest timed mile of 7:53 (from >17 months ago!) for ONE stinkin’ minute. So, from now on, I will focus on cadence!
The second mini-breakthrough came on Saturday morning. The Gypsy Runner and I headed out to Lake Chabot for a trail run. He had 5 miles planned and I had 8.5. We started off together for about 1.5 miles, then went on our separate ways. Even though I had my earphones and podcasts ready to go, I decided to forego the distraction and maintain focus. I wanted to push this run a little harder than usual, since it would be my last long-ish run before leaving for Taiwan. Also, I had been thinking a lot about my mental toughness, and I really felt like working on pushing the envelope. Just for comparison, I typically take quite a few walk breaks when running around Lake Chabot and my fastest time before Saturday was 1:39, back in February. On Saturday, I only walked twice and finished the loop in 1:32! I have to admit that there were a few hills that almost got me walking, but when temptation lurked, I just look at the ground immediately ahead of me, pumped my arms, leaned forward, and tried my best to control my breath. I think it worked ok! Again, I increased my cadence and shortened my stride, which made things seem a little easier. Best of all, I felt really strong throughout, especially when I finished the run at 9:00/mile pace. Woot!
In addition to those wonderful runs, I had a couple of easy runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as a core workout on Tuesday and a bike commute on Friday. Sunday has been 100% LAZY (hurray!). Total running mileage: 21 miles.
This is probably my last post before I leave for Taiwan on Wednesday. There’s a small chance that I’ll blog in Taiwan, but if not, see y’all in 2 weeks! Before I sign off, just wanted to remind/tell you about 2 things:
1. Don’t forget to sign up for the Foster City 10-miler/5K! Prices go up on 12/1, and you can save 10% with code “JLEE” through 1/1/14. Corrigan Sports has recently announced that the other two 10-miler races will happen in May and August (cities TBA), and only the participants who complete all 3 races will receive a medal.2. My friend Kate is leading a training program for the Oakland Half Marathon on behalf of Kaia Fit. Maybe you remember Kate from her guest blog post, or from her recent accomplishment of completing a 50-mile race, but needless to say, she’s a very experienced runner and super nice to boot! Here’s what she has to say about Kaia Fit: “Kaia Fit is a women’s strength training studio in Oakland owned by Sara Mohn and Mary McQueen, both of whom are personal trainers and have a long history of training, teaching, and helping women reach their fitness goals.”
Your fartlek intervals are great! I have no idea what speed I run mine at but I’m pretty confident they’re not 7:xx! I seem unable to go below 8! I do agree with the faster/shorter steps though. That def makes a difference. I’m guessing you tried pumping your arms? That does the same thing – make your feet turn faster and also speeds you up. There will be a lot of arm-pumping on Sunday!
Have an amazing time in Taiwan. I’d love to see pics.
Isn’t it ironic that the day you posted this, you then went on to run a sub-8 mile during a tempo run??!!! We should keep making proclamations like this in the the comments… maybe one day we’ll be Olympic atheletes (ha!).
Great week! I am definitely a fan of the shorter stride for quicker turnover. It feels so much stronger regardless. Have fun overseas!
I ran with my husband yesterday. I had to slow down every now and then because he’s faster than I am so that was my fartlek run. I read that you’ll be running Big Sur. I ran the Big Sur Marathon and loved it. It was beautiful!
Yeah, I’m really, really looking forward to running Big Sur. Any tips?
I know how good a break can be feel! Good luck at your races!!
Have a GREAT trip!!!